Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist Has No Retirement Plans

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist Has No Retirement Plans

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 18, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist has no plans to retire from the Supreme Court, he said in a statement on Friday. His comments came amid intense speculation he would resign from his position because of mounting health concerns.

Rehnquist, who is 80 and suffering from thyroid cancer, said emphatically, "I am not about to announce my retirement."

"I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement," Rehnquist said. "I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

Rehnquist took the unusual step of releasing the statement through his family, who contacted the Associated Press, rather than using the Supreme Court’s public information office. The announcement came hours after he was released from the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, where he was admitted on Tuesday evening after complaining of a fever.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said President Bush was not notified of the statement beforehand.

"We didn’t know before the statement," he told reporters. "The chief justice is doing an outstanding job, and we are pleased that he will continue his great service to the nation."

President Bush is still working on narrowing down a list of names of candidates to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

"He’s still looking at names and trying to come to a decision. There’s not a set timetable at this point," one senior White House official told the Washington Post about that process.